Building Allyship Initiative
The Building Allyship Initiative is a collaboration of the Graduate and Professional Student Diversity Council and the Graduate School Office of Inclusion and Student Engagement (OISE).
Through panel discussion and public talks, the Building Allyship Initiative provides an opportunity for members of the Cornell community to gain insights into the depth and breadth of identities and experiences represented within our graduate community and engage in productive dialogue focused on fostering a greater understanding of the many aspects of critical allyship and its practice.
Each event seeks to create a safe space for critical dialogue where we can bridge gaps in knowledge, learn from each other, and create understanding without fear of judgment.
Read this article, Impact vs. Intent: Becoming Critical Allies Through Workshop Series, to learn more about this initiative.
2023 Building Allyship Keynote
Supporting Trans and Nonbinary People During Turbulent Times
The current sociopolitical climate in the U.S. is having devastating impacts on trans and nonbinary people, and those who love them. So far in 2023, 567 bills have been introduced across 49 states, 83 of which have passed, for the purposes of denying trans people access to basic healthcare, education, legal recognition, and the right to simply exist in the public eye. What can aspiring non-trans allies do to uplift and protect trans and nonbinary people under such extraordinary circumstances? How can trans people engage in empowered self-allyship without becoming fatigued, or worse, desensitized to the ongoing trauma?
Dr. Leo Taylor, speaker, DEI consultant, transsexual, person with a disability, aspiring ally to all minoritized groups, and entomologist will be returning to his alma mater to discuss strategies for becoming an effective ally to trans and nonbinary people at Cornell and beyond. With compelling boldness and a good dose of humor Leo will describe his experiences as a transman from a small town in Indiana who began his transition nearly a quarter of a century ago, during the early days of the internet. He’ll walk us through some of the highlights and darkest moments he experienced as a transsexual during the late 2000’s and early 2010’s from the perspectives of both an Ithaca resident and Cornell graduate student and describe major changes that have occurred at the University since. Most importantly, aspiring allies will receive tangible strategies they can use to bolster and preserve trans and nonbinary people in their lives, communities, and across the country.
About Our Speaker
Dr. Leo Taylor (Entomology Ph.D. ’15) is a seasoned DEI educator, speaker, and consultant with a focus on transgender and nonbinary identities and LGBTQ+ culture. With over 15 years of experience, he offers customized workshops and consulting services to help organizations and individuals navigate diversity, equity, and inclusion issues.
Leo’s background includes a B.S. in psychology and M.S. in biology, both from Ball State University, and a Ph.D. in entomology from Cornell University. His extensive expertise in DEI topics stems from hundreds of workshops, webinars, presentations, and keynote addresses. Leo’s unique perspective as a queer transman, who began his transition in 1999, provides rare insights into the experiences and challenges of a still very misunderstood population.
As a DEI consultant who also works at The Ohio State University, Leo approaches his work with grace, humility, transparency, vulnerability, and a big dose of humor. He shares his extraordinary life experiences, having been perceived as a straight woman, lesbian, straight man, and gay man, all before the age of 40! Leo emphasizes the transformative power of trans visibility and the vital role non-trans allies play in advancing inclusion and equity.
About the Building Allyship Initiative
Initiated by the GPSA Diversity and International Students Committee, the Building Allyship Initiative is a collaboration of the Graduate and Professional Student Diversity Council and the Graduate School Office of Inclusion and Student Engagement (OISE). This initiative provides an opportunity for members of the Cornell community to gain insights into the depth and breadth of identities and experiences represented within our graduate community and engage in productive dialogue focused on fostering a greater understanding of the many aspects of critical allyship and its practice. Building Allyship events seek to create a safe space for critical dialogue where we can bridge gaps in knowledge, learn from each other, and create understanding without fear of judgment.
Congratulations to the Building Allyship Series Committee and the Graduate & Professional Student Diversity Council for being recognized with an honorable mention for the 2021 Perkins Prize for Interracial and Intercultural Peace and Harmony!
We strive to make our events accessible to all community members. Individuals who would like to request accessibility accommodations should contact email@example.com. We ask that requests be made at least one week in advance to help ensure they can be met.
2022 Building Allyship Session
2020-21 Building Allyship Sessions